Japanese Cheesecake

Japanese Cheesecake

The Spruce / Cara Cormack

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 2 hrs
Total: 2 hrs 30 mins
Servings: 12 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
255 Calories
14g Fat
26g Carbs
6g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 255
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14g 19%
Saturated Fat 8g 40%
Cholesterol 141mg 47%
Sodium 152mg 7%
Total Carbohydrate 26g 9%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 17g
Protein 6g
Vitamin C 1mg 3%
Calcium 48mg 4%
Iron 1mg 5%
Potassium 113mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Japanese cheesecake, also known as Japanese cotton cake, soufflé cheesecake, or jiggly cake, is a bouncy and light confection with similar ingredients to regular cheesecake, but of lighter and fluffier texture. The main difference is that Japanese cheesecake has no crust and the egg whites are first beaten to soft peaks before being incorporated into the final batter. Similar to chiffon cake but even airier, yet surprisingly sturdy, this sweet import has become a home baker hit. Impressive on its own, the jiggly cake needs no bells or whistles to earn new fans. A quick dust with powdered sugar is all you need to present this beautiful dessert.

Less sweet than a regular cheesecake, this is a refreshing and mild-flavored treat, and as such, it can easily be personalized with a dash of your favorite liqueur, or served with varied fruit compotes, chocolate shavings, or fresh berries.

When baking Japanese cheesecake, there are a few tips you need to keep in mind to make this recipe successful every time. We recommend planning ahead so the eggs are at room temperature—whites and yolks separated before you start— having at hand a springform pan to easily unmold the cake, and measuring everything before you begin. The key to a beautiful bake lies in the details and this Japanese import is no exception.

"Great for brunch. So light and fluffy! Meringues can be tricky, so go slow and follow the directions closely, but otherwise a pretty straightforward recipe." —Renae Wilson

Japanese Cheesecake Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester

Ingredients

For the Cream Cheese Batter:

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

  • 1 cup/8 ounces cream cheese

  • 6 tablespoons milk

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch

  • 6 large egg yolks

  • 1/4 cup sugar

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice

For the Meringue:

  • 6 large egg whites

  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

For Garnish

  • 6 tablespoons powdered sugar

Steps to Make It

Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, this cheesecake is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and baking.

Make the Cream Cheese Batter

  1. Gather the batter ingredients.

    Cream Cheese Batter ingredients

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  2. Preheat the oven to 325 F. Using 1 tablespoon of butter, generously grease a 8-inch springform cake pan.

    greased springform cake pan

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  3. Tightly wrap the outside bottom and up the sides of the pan with 2 to 3 sheets of aluminum foil to prevent water from leaking into the pan during baking. Set aside.

    greased cake pan wrapped with aluminum foil

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  4. In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Combine the remaining butter with the cream cheese and milk in a metal or glass bowl. Place bowl over the sauce pan with the boiling water, creating a double boiler.  Slowly soften the ingredients over simmering water until melted, about 5 minutes. 

    butter, cream cheese and milk over a double boiler

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  5. Transfer the batter to the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk lightly on medium speed to make sure there are no lumps. Alternatively, use a hand mixer.

    batter in a bowl, hand mixer

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  6. In a separate bowl, sift the flour with the cornstarch.

    sift the flour with the cornstarch into a bowl

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  7. Gradually add the flour and cornstarch mixture into the cream cheese batter. Whisk until incorporated. 

    flour added to the mixture in the bowl

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  8. Add the egg yolks and sugar into the batter and whisk until smooth.

    batter in a bowl

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  9. Add the salt and lemon juice and lightly whisk to mix together. Set aside while you prepare the meringue.

    batter in a bowl

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

Make the Meringue

  1. Gather the meringue ingredients.

    meringue ingredients ingredients

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  2. In a very clean and dry bowl, whip the egg whites on medium speed using a stand or hand mixer until the egg whites are starting to turn opaque; don't beat them at high speed.

    whip egg whites in a bowl with a hand mixer

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  3. Once opaque, add the cream of tartar all at once and continue mixing. The meringue will start to turn bright white and glossy.

    egg whites with cream of tartar, beat with an egg mixer

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  4. Gradually add the sugar, a tablespoon at a time. whisking well until thoroughly mixed. The meringue will soon be thick, firm, and shiny. When you lift the beaters from the mixture, it should stand in firm peaks.

    meringue mixture beat with the hand mixer in the bowl

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  5. Using a large spoon, add 1/3 of the meringue to the cream cheese batter and mix quickly to loosen the mixture. Add another 1/3 and use the spoon to gently fold in the meringue, preserving as much air as possible in the batter. Repeat with the remaining meringue to form a light, airy cake batter.

    meringue mixture in a bowl

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

Bake the Cheesecake

  1. Boil 8 cups of water in a kettle or medium pan.

    water in a pan

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  2. Slowly pour the batter into the prepared pan and gently level the batter with the back of a spoon or with an offset spatula. Carefully lift up the cake pan about 6 inches from the work surface and drop it back down to release any trapped air bubbles.

    batter in a prepared pan

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  3. Place a deep roasting pan onto the middle rack of the preheated oven, put the cake pan in the center of the roasting pan, and pour the boiling water into the roasting pan so it reaches halfway up the cake pan. The bain-marie will help to gently cook the cake.

    cheesecake in a cake pan in a baking pan with water

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  4. Bake for 1 hour. Turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake in the oven, with the door closed, for an additional 45 minutes. Open the oven door and leave the cake inside for 15 minutes to gently lower the temperature of the cake and prevent it from collapsing.

    baked Japanese Cheesecake in a cake pan

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  5. Take the cheesecake out of the oven, place it on a cooling rack, and leave it to cool completely.

    Japanese Cheesecake in a baking pan on a cooling rack

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  6. Once the cake is cool, unmold and serve dusted with the powdered sugar.

    Japanese Cheesecake

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

Tips

  • When separating egg whites from yolks, make sure there is no trace of yolk in the whites, as this could prevent the whites from foaming properly. (It's easier to separate eggs while they're still cold.)
  • Allow the egg whites to come to room temperature before using them. Room temperature egg whites will whip much better and develop more volume.
  • When making the meringue, use a clean bowl with no traces of fat or oil. Just to be sure, you can wipe the inside of the bowl with white vinegar.
  • Don't add the sugar too quickly to the egg whites, as this could deflate the meringue.
  • For best results, it's important to bake this cheesecake at the correct temperature. Home ovens are often inaccurate and can be off by 25 to even 50 degrees. An oven thermometer, placed in the middle of your oven, will tell you how accurate your oven is and whether you need to raise or lower the heat to reach the target baking temperature.

How to Store

The cheesecake can be placed in an airtight container and will keep for 24 hours in the refrigerator.